A Year Ago

I am still working on my posts about London and Becky’s visit, but I couldn’t let a major anniversary pass.

It was a year ago last night that I pledged to leave Wisconsin. Here is what I wrote at the time:

The Reluctant Wisconsinite

I vowed in 2004 that I would never live in a Red State. I can handle a purple state. I could maybe even handle a blue enclave (Austin) in an always red state, but when a state has changed from the one I once knew, well it’s time to leave.

Wisconsin, I will bid you adieu in 2011.

It’s not just because of the elections. Wisconsin and I have been hanging in there together for a while here, for what seems like “for the kids.” The relationship has been suffering. Wisconsin doesn’t make me feel the way it used to. I don’t think it appreciates me. And now it’s gone and cheated on me. Our values have completely shifted. Why stay in a failing partnership? It’s time to move out.

One of my motivations for staying in Wisconsin was the possibility of going to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Elated, was I, when plans for high speed rail began formulating and I envisioned staying car-free, commuting as necessary to classes in my mid-30s and receiving top-quality higher education.

Unfortunately, my fellow Wisconsinites don’t only not share this vision, but are vehemently against making this lifestyle choice. Why then would they elect a college-drop out to run the higher education system? A man who declared his transit policy to have everyone afford to buy a car, and a stepford wife who wants all moms to drive minivans. Oh, and I will be a mom or abstinent, because these folks are so conservative, they don’t even support birth control.

I’ve had SEVERAL friends challenge me tonight, calling me over dramatic, encouraging me to “sleep on it,” even threatening to “defriend” me if I don’t stop complaining. Luckily my best friend, the wonderful Kat, called me and cheerlead me through it. Once she got me to stop crying and throwing things, she and I had a practically rational conversation about leaving.

  • Why should I stay and contribute to the economy of a state that is against most everything I believe in?
  • What may be worse than my severe disagreement of the people elected tonight, is that I have to go to work, go to bars, go to the supermarket, with people who share those values.
  • I’m not from here. I am painfully single. I’m not 100% satisfied with life. Why should I stay in this situation? Why should I not venture out and seek to mix up my life? Why should I be content with discontent?

Why have I not spoken up before? Why I haven’t used this blog or my twitter for political posturing this election season? Unfortunately, in the Midwest strong opinions are best kept to oneself…unless you’re talking about God-fearin’ or train-hatin’. Yeah, not for me anymore. I will continue to do the best that I can while I brave out one more winter in this no man’s land — but come spring, I’m looking coastward.

It’s almost eerie how prophetic it was. Both for me and for the state of Wisconsin. Just a few short months after those words were written I was packed up to fly out as legislators rammed through anti-union measures in closed door meetings.

I now face an election where candidates are vying to be the most bike-friendly. Winter is a approaching and friends are talking about going up to Tahoe to “see snow.” I’m still single, but I actually have a healthy dating life (I’d heard about such a thing on the TV, but didn’t think it truly existed considering I’d be “lucky” to be asked out once every six months in Wisconsin).

No, California is not a utopia. There are concerns that high-speed rail will cost $98 billion (um, what that’s like one year of war spending?), but thanks to Wisconsin handing over the money there’s a little extra cash flow. It’s hard to find a decent beer OTHER than an IPA, though those are mighty tasty. And, who knows what really is going on in Oakland (I’ll find out tonight as I head over for a fundraiser)?

It’s hard to channel the anger of that year-ago Meghan. I was so ANGRY. All the time. I no longer have a black cloud hanging over me. Please know that I will ALWAYS love Wisconsin and our time together, but San Francisco has brought me an inner peace and truly a new level of the joy of living.

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About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Typekit community, former: TYPO SF magic maker
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2 Responses to A Year Ago

  1. Nick Lyons says:

    I take issue with your comment about it being hard to find beers other than IPA’s that are good (unless you’re talking about tap handles out there, which I don’t know anything about – but there have to a lot with diverse craft offerings).

    We need to have a sidebar talk about this, I have some ideas. CA has one of the best beer scenes in the world. I agree that the entire west coast is too obsessed with big, hoppy beers. Delicious… but there’s more to life.

    As to the main point of this posting, I’ve got nothing. We miss you!

  2. gangerdesign says:

    Great post. I have this philosophy that people should—and often do—gravitate to places where they find that they share a common view of the world with other people that live there. Living in the Twin Cities for 6 years, I had a particular philosophy and view of the world, which was abruptly disturbed a bit upon moving to Milwaukee. When I hear someone complaining that high-speed rail or other mass transit initiatives jack up their property taxes, I say “well, there are places for you in this country. Indiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi are good choices for you.” Like smoking a joint and having a coffee? Maybe Amsterdam is up your alley. Like art, Turkish food, and partying for days? Try Berlin! I myself love art, friendly Midwestern folks, the Great Lakes, brewing the beer I drink, and family-oriented neighborhoods. At this stage in my life I love Milwaukee, and I really love the good people here. But as soon as my son graduates from his awesome public school, I will be packing things up and heading for Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, or London. Mostly for the same reasons you left Milwaukee. I’m growing increasingly weary of the backwards brain-dead political zealots & closet fascists who masquerade as public servants and twist our republic into a contorted mass that’s uglier than Ann Coulter’s face. But I’m not sure even a move to SanFran will be enough of a haven from the United States of Paranoia. I wish you the best of luck there, and hope that this country will follow the lead of your great city. San Francisco is an awesome place. It sounds like you made a great choice.

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